Cream, eggs, and pork drippings combine in the ultimate Serbian bread bowl.
In the early 20th century, when Serbian teachers felt their stomachs growling, they would send their students to the shops, ordering them to bring back a specific snack. “Bring me a bun with eggs, milk cream, and drippings,” they would say. Obviously, that was a bit of a mouthful, so eventually they simplified their order to komplet lepinja, or the “flat bun with everything in it.”
Today, komplet lepinja is most popular in Western Serbia’s Zlatibor district, where residents use the savory, carb-heavy snack to cure hangovers and warm up during the winter. The “bun with everything” is just that, a large bun that is hollowed out until it becomes a shallow bowl with a removable bread lid. Chefs fill this basin with tangy, mildly fermented clotted cream (kajmak) and a whisked egg. After the bun has baked to a light golden color, they add drippings from a roasted lamb or pig (pretop) to the thick, bubbling mass inside.
Komplet lepinja may sound a bit greasy and decadent, but it’s meant to be eaten with your hands. Simply peel off the “lid” in small strips and dip them into the middle of the bowl. Then, when you’re done with that, chomp through the bowl itself.
Where to Try It
Zorina KrčmaBorova glava, Zlatibor, Serbia
The small tavern on the road to Nova Varoš has only three items on the menu, one being their specialty: komplet lepinja.
Šuljaga, one of the oldest bakeries in the area, is well known for its daily-made lepinjas.